Monday, April 28, 2008

On the Cosmic Meaning of Race

I guess it's hard to avoid the big kerfuffle of the day, which is Jeremiah Wright's speech before the NAACP over the weekend, in which he claimed that "black brains" have a different neurological structure than "white brains," so that cultural differences would be rooted in our hardware, not our software, so to speak. (Here is a link to the video.) Ironically, this is what got the authors of The Bell Curve in so much trouble a decade ago, for it is strictly forbidden to entertain the idea that race could involve any "essential" differences as opposed to "accidental" ones.

Now, there is no question that Jeremiah Wright is a lunatic, a racist, and a hate-monger, but that's beside the point, for truth -- if it is truth -- cannot be sullied by its vehicle. 2 + 2 = 4 is no less true even if it comes out of the deranged mouth of a Keith Olbermann. But let's look at this in a detached and disinterested way, and see if there's any truth to it.

This subject is truly the "third rail" of academia, so I will no doubt say something offensive in what follows -- or, at the very least, something that will be willfully misunderstood. On the one hand, we're all supposed to be obsessed with race and racial differences, and yet, deny that they have any intrinsic basis. If you are a politically correct leftist, you must simultaneously believe that race is "everything" and yet "nothing." It is of the utmost importance in judging people, and yet, of no importance at all. To believe there are racial differences is to automatically brand oneself a nazi, even if one is positively disposed to the differences. It's a very confusing message. Remember the Seinfeld episode, in which Jerry proclaimed that he loved Asian women? Elaine responded, "that's so racist!," and a bewildered Jerry asked words to the effect of, "how can it be racist? I said I love them."

As an example of how ideology shapes scientific perception -- or what the scientist is "permitted" to believe, and even perceive -- it has long been assumed in anthropological circles that race is entirely contingent and superficial. We are all descended from the same small band of Homo sapiens from as recently as 70,000 years ago, and that's just too short a time in evolutionary terms to result in any real changes to the human genotype. On this assumption, all human beings are genetically no different than a human being from 70,000 years ago. I am hardly the first to observe that this stance is largely an institutional reaction to the monstrosities of the racial theories of the 20th century and to the legacy of Western slavery.

The most recent scientific evidence suggests that the idea that evolution ceased 70,000 years ago is simply untrue. Awhile back I posted on Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors (Wade is a science writer for the New York Times, no less), and he says that there is no question that significant genetic changes have taken place within just a few generations as a result of certain human groups being isolated from one another.

I don't recall all of the details, but I do recall Wade's example of the Ashkenazi Jews, whom he said rapidly developed higher IQs because they were prevented from working in most fields as a result of European anti-Semitism. In short, Jews could mostly find work in "disreputable" fields that required a certain kind of more abstract mental ability as opposed to "honest labor." But Jews got the last laugh, as they were genetically selected for higher IQs in a very short span of time. If this is true, it would explain why Ashkenazi Jews continue to have a significantly higher IQs than the average. (That's not me talking, but Wade summarizing the scientific evidence.)

Another relevant book along these lines is Richard Nisbett's The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why. The Publishers Weekly review says the book

"may mark the beginning of a new front in the science wars. Nisbett, an eminent psychologist..., contends that 'human cognition is not everywhere the same' -- that those brought up in Western and East Asian cultures think differently from one another in scientifically measurable ways.... Westerners tend to inculcate individualism and choice..., while East Asians are oriented toward group relations and obligations ('the tall poppy is cut down' remains a popular Chinese aphorism). Next, Nisbett presents his actual experiments and data, [which] seem to show East Asians [to be] measurably more holistic in their perceptions (taking in whole scenes rather than a few stand-out objects). Westerners, or those brought up in Northern European and Anglo-Saxon-descended cultures, have a 'tunnel-vision perceptual style' that focuses much more on identifying what's prominent in certain scenes and remembering it."

Now, I am not a big fan of IQ testing as a measure of general intelligence, and I believe that any average human being is equipped to comprehend absolute truth; conversely, a high IQ in no way correlates with conformity to truth, much less to creativity. If anything, the opposite is true. After a certain cut-off point, a high IQ is associated with less creativity, not to mention a narcissistic pride that results in idiosyncratic deviations from truth, which are no more than an egoic and thoroughly disposable "song of myself." Conformity to truth requires a humility that is too often lacking in the intellectually grandiose.

We needn't look further than leftist academia to appreciate the truism that a certain kind of one-dimensional high intelligence more often than not correlates with systematic nonsense, not truth. For example, college educated people vote overwhelmingly Republican, while people who have attended graduate school (business or economics excepted, of course) vote overwhelmingly Democrat. This doesn't surprise me in the least, as the problem of over-education is actually much more harmful than the problem of under-education. The latter group causes relatively few societal problems compared to the former. This is why William F. Buckley famously quipped that he would prefer to be governed by the first 100 names in the Boston telephone book than the Harvard faculty, and why he was correct. It truly takes an over-educated buffoon to believe most of the nonsense that comes out of academia.

You can only be a racist if you believe that race is unvaryingly rooted in genetics, and that certain groups are unavoidably superior and therefore inferior. But again, what if different groups are just different, but not in any pejorative sense? Or, what if each group has its strengths and weakness, so that it is once again not a matter of "either/or" but "both/and"? Just as the human being is not male or female, but the complementarity of male/female, what if the archetypal Man is all of the races harmoniously combined? What if we really should cherish the differences rather than use them as a battering ram for leftist grievance-mongering and victimization?

The most up-to-date research on intelligence indicates what should be a truism, that intelligence is not only not a general construct (or not only), but that it has many relatively independent "modules." For example, one can obviously be a musical genius but a political dolt. Too many painful examples come to mind. Likewise, one can be a scientific genius, like Einstein, and be a philosophical mediocrity and political nuisance. Or, one can be a religious genius and be a scientific kook. One can have rhetorical skills, like Obama, which conceal an intellect that is mediocre, or poor rhetorical skills, like President Bush, and have a superior IQ.

Now, I don't happen to believe that race is genetic -- or only genetic (everything is by definition genetic in some sense, so it's a tautology). Furthermore, one of the most critical points to bear in mind is that intelligence is on a Bell curve anyway, so that each group actually contains all of the human potential, just in a different mixture. Yes, the vast majority of immortal jazz musicians were black, and I believe only could have been black. And yet there have been some white jazz musicians that also achieved aesthetic perfection, e.g., Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Art Pepper.

As Schuon observed -- and Schuon is a person who not only loved racial differences, but truly cherished them -- "If racism is to be rejected, so is an anti-racism which errs in the opposite direction by attributing racial difference to merely accidental causes and which seeks to reduce to nothing these differences by talking about blood-groups, or in other words by mixing up things situated on different levels." To put it another way, nothing as precious and valuable as these differences could be a result of mere genetic shuffling. Thus the differences between, say, Taosim and Christianity, which really do involve different "inflections" of the one truth, even though -- at least according to Schuon -- they are each "complete."

What we call "race" must be a combination of genetics, culture, archetypal essences, and individuality. So it is impossible in principle to reduce someone to his race, even if we can discuss it in general terms. Furthermore, it seems to be something we can't help noticing, even if we needn't attach any negative connotations to it. For example, my son's best friends are a Japanese boy; a Chinese-American girl; an African-American adoptee of a white couple; and a boy and girl of a mixed Caucasian/African American couple. We assumed that Tristan would grow up not noticing race, but the other night we were watching a Dodger game, with the Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on the mound. Tristan happily exclaimed, "he looks like KK!," his little Japanese friend.

One of the reasons I am so disoriented by the left, is that by the 1970s, like any good liberal, I had been naive enough to believe that Americans really were "beyond race." I was raised to believe that it was of no importance, and I didn't even know any liberals who believed otherwise. It seems to me that only with the OJ trial was the mask ripped off, and the full extent of the horror of invidious leftist race obsessions became apparent. That's when it dawned on me with great force that these people are not like me. Not African-Americans. The left. And that is much deeper than any mere racial difference. Let's put it this way: I am a different race than Jeremiah Wright, but the same one as Thomas Sowell. But I wish I were the same race as Bobby Bland or Van Morrison....

To be continued....

48 Comments:

Blogger Bill said...

I frequently forget to come to this blog. I don't know why -- you have an interesting take on things. I know what you mean about the "overeducated" stupidity. And golly, in grad school, they almost got to me. It was this close.

4/28/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

You didn't "forget." It was the work of the Crafty One.

4/28/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wright did have one important (and accurate) point, that "Different does not equal Deficient." This applies to all kinds of differences, not merely race, and is part of why "All men are created equal" is a True statement.

Unfortunately, that truism became buried immediately under the heap of racist BS he piled on top of that statement. Blacks are right-brained while whites are left-brained? How does he account for the fact that most black Americans are not uniracial? Even himself - clearly, going by his skin tones, there's a certain amount of white pine and/or redwood in his coal pile. In point of fact, few Americans whose families have been in this country for more than a couple of generations can make any claim to racial purity. And depending on what part of Europe or Africa you come from, there's a good chance that your bloodstream isn't so pure, either.

It seems to me the real answer to the conundrum of educational styles for different modes of thinking is to have a voucher system in place, so that parents can send their kids to the schools which most adequately meet their children's educational needs. If such a system were in place, and after a couple of generations of students had gone through it became clear that black students went overwhelmingly to schools for "right-brained" thinkers, then maybe I'd think he had a good point. But it wouldn't really matter, so long as the system was set up to develop students' minds to their full potential regardless of skin color, and help them to be successful, responsible adults.

For the moment, though, he's 99% full of crap.

4/28/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Boy, The Puppeteer, Karl Rove is an absolute genius with the prediction of Obamas political rise and his infiltration of Reverend Wright into the mix. Not to mention his duping everyone into thinking Wright isn't Italian.

4/28/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous dallisal said...

Why do you start out your essay with a "without question" branding of Wright as a racist? Do I need to backtrack your posts to understand your position? I watched the Bill Moyers Interview which modified my belief that he was whitewashing his own racist beliefs once he found himself in the spotlight. Moyers' interview showed him to be extremely race conscious and ideally positioned to begin examining the elephant in America's living room. I think the fact that we are publicly discussing racial differences in passionate terms (rather than legislating equality) is proof that he is capable of effecting a social change. I haven't seen an opportunity like this in America, well...ever.

Reading the transcripts of Wright's sermons rather than the excerpts, I acknowledge that he is capable of inciting deep racial pride, but he does so in an effort, I now think, to lift the black man up so that he may begin aspiring vertically also rather than horizontally. It's hard to not see Wrights primary bias is toward Christianity, no matter what else one sees.

From what I've read of your blog I believe you would advocate that one needs to achieve some mean or base "spiritual survival level" in order to aspire spiritually, just as one must have a modicum of physical needs met in order to begin a conscious program of physical health. Perhaps I'm reading you wrong.

No matter, I see Wright as opening up a new kind of dialogue, one based on differences rather than similarities. We've all acknowledged it privately, but as you say, we've been unable to profess it publicly for fear of being branded racist. Racism is not race consciousness. It is predisposed bias. And this parasite is not, to my mind, confined merely to skin color.

4/28/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Philomathean said...

Hillary should give Wright a job in her administration, assuming she wins. He is doing more to sabotage Obama's campaign than she ever could.

On the issue of race in academia and society, I think this excerpt from Steve Sailer's blog says it all:

The metaphor that's always come to my mind is that of living near some sort of singularity, gravitational or otherwise.

Basically, anything that gets too close to the singularity falls inside and disappears. People go around their daily lives, when suddenly someone accidentally gets too close---James Watson?---and Bam! He disappears.

The powerful tidal effects from the invisible singularity warp all sorts of social structures into bizarre shapes and behaviors. Gradually over time, more and more pieces of our world drop inside the singularity and disappear, until eventually the entire society collapses.

Back in the early 1970s, Larry Niven wrote a couple of short stories about the fact that if you just just took a tiny quantum black hole (that was before Hawking's evaporation theory came out) with the mass of a baseball or something and just dropped it into the ground it would fall to the center, swing back and forth through the core, and eventually gobble up the entire planet within a few years or centuries, becoming a somewhat bigger black hole in the process. Tiny black hole plus Earth equals bigger black hole plus no more Earth!

Officially believing in something that just isn't true has much the same impact, eventually gobbling up everything else in your society.

4/28/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

dallisal, you said
"Reading the transcripts of Wright's sermons rather than the excerpts, I acknowledge that he is capable of inciting deep racial pride, but he does so in an effort, I now think, to lift the black man up so that he may begin aspiring vertically also rather than horizontally."

The problem with this is that verticality is bi-directional. There is nothing wrong with observing differences. The problem here is that Wright takes a true statement ("difference does not equal deficient"), then wraps it up in a big fat Lie burrito ("whites are left-brained, blacks are right-brained;" even if this statement were wholly true, which I seriously doubt, the fact that very few Americans are wholly black or white makes this statement fairly useless in determining educational styles based solely on skin color). This Lie, when swallowed whole by his congregation, will indeed put them somewhere on a vertical plane, but I can guarantee you that the orientation will be not higher, but lower.

Or as Philomathean quoted,
"Officially believing in something that just isn't true has much the same impact, eventually gobbling up everything else in your society."

4/28/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, Wright's comments about music show that among whatever negative qualities he's acquired over the years prominent among them is ignorance. I don't care if it's a figure of speech, the original europeans also had a five-tone system. Unless a group actively studies intervality (such as did the Greeks eventually) the five-tone system will prevail. In other words, the difference in current 'tonalities' is not itself evidence of inherent difference. It may show differing inclinations, but is not clear enough evidence of them. If you threw a white person over there you might find they acquire the same 'tonality'. In other words, ethnicity is only one of many factors - and perhaps one of the smallest factors - determining musicality.

4/28/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

In any case, we should be able to agree that there is a difference between acknowledging genetic variation within the human species and blaming The Man for one's problems. You don't see a church of short people inciting each other over the fact that they are underpaid and undersexed. Why in the world would there be a church of black people savoring their grievances?

4/28/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me but I have always thought that mixed race women were better looking than average. This could just be the ''exotic'' effect. I'm not sure. The city I live in has a huge Asian population that goes back well over a century and I see more and more mixed-race couples. A checkout girl at a local store is obviously a mix of the big three...Caucasian,Asian and African, and she is a lovely piece of work, believe me. Model material. Also, when I watch a sci-fi movie or TV show I often think that they have forgotten to extrapolate properly because it if obvious to me that in a few hundred years a large minority, at least, of the population will be of visibly mixed-race ancestry. I would like to see a show that takes this into account because to me it is inevitable. -Peter

4/28/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Dallisal said...

Julie,
Yes. I was interested to read that point you made before I posted. I wasn't sure what part of his speech you were referring to when you said "racist BS". Thanks for clarifying.

Given the history of the African race in this country, is anyone surprised at the surfacing anger that has never been allowed to come out? Even though you and I perhaps had no part in it, who else is the angry black going to blame? Everyone really culpable is dead. So we have this real anger, this racial tension, as a fact. Justified, understood, or not. It's an aspect of living in America today. The problem with our public handling of racial policy is that, as Bob says, it doesn't address the core issues. It merely legislates equality where little or none is apparent. No one wants to see their tax dollars or personal charitable surplus hijacked by someone who's suddenly "deserving" because the government suddenly christens that demographic as such. The idea that equality is something ordained by legislation rather than, as you advocate with your vouchers-as-litmus for Wright's theories, worked out in everyday societal interaction, sits poorly with anyone who's ever examined the process from the "giver" side rather than the "receiver" side.

A part of my point is that Wright's unambiguous belief that yes, blacks and whites, black culture and white culture, are different is a huge step in the right direction. Exactly HOW we are different may still require some tuning. But the premise works for me. The reasons he's advocating a difference are as far from racist as I can imagine. That we have someone close to a presidential candidate talking like this is exciting to me.

I believe, based on what I heard him tell Moyers, that Wright is trying to get the African-American to recognize their own divinity, separate from their (perhaps disadvantaged, but now not so important thanks to the Rev's take on this) place in American Culture. That he is trying to instill in his culture a belief that they are spiritually deserving based upon their own divine merits rather than because the government made it so. Do you see the difference in a starting point between his rhetoric and that of a jjackson or a sharpton? I believe he understands that his people will not rise above themselves if they can't reconnect with a sense of greatness. He's reaching back to their African roots to find this greatness. Ultimately I don't think it matters where one finds it, only that they find it. When the mind begins to believe it's possible, our genetic divinity does the rest.

If you haven't seen Moyers' interview, I hope you'll take the time to watch. I re-considered Wright because of it.

4/28/2008 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

"dallisal said...
Why do you start out your essay with a "without question" branding of Wright as a racist? "

1. He gave Louis Farrakhan the church's Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer Award recently (Farrakhan who famously called whites "the anti-christ".)
2. He included Hamas propaganda in a recent church newsletter.
3. He shouted from the pulpit that the white man created AIDS to commit genecide on the black man.
4. He compares Israel to apartheid South Africa.

What part of the word racist don't you understand?

Mrs. G

4/28/2008 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

dallisal,

first,
"...is anyone surprised at the surfacing anger that has never been allowed to come out?"

Have you been asleep for the past century? To the contrary, I believe a big part of the problem within black culture is that the "surfacing anger" is constantly stoked, occasionally from without by real acts of racism, but far more often from within the black community. And the irony is, they need to be angry - but not at the Other, at themselves for allowing the black community to be in the state it is in today. That is nobody's fault but their own.

"...they are spiritually deserving based upon their own divine merits rather than because the government made it so."

That is Absolutely true. The problem, again, is that Wright takes a kernel of truth and mixes it up with a whole compost heap of lies (for instance, that AIDS was used by the government to try and kill off the black community). Telling his congregation that they are better than white Europeans does not make it so, any more than Nazis claiming they were superior to non-Aryans made it so. Is it true that some people are better than others? Most assuredly - but that betterness is a quality of merit, which has not a thing to do with skin color and everything to do with character.

The harm he does with these kernels of truth blended with lies aimed at dehumanizing the Other and elevating the self based only on skin color is incalculable. Whatever his intentions may be, the end result is not transcendent but descendant.

4/28/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And thanks, Leslie - I knew there were lots more examples, but couldn't think of them off the top of my head.

4/28/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dallisal, if you are paraphrasing Wright's beliefs accurately ("I believe he understands that his people will not rise above themselves if they can't reconnect with a sense of greatness. He's reaching back to their African roots to find this greatness"), well, all you need do is replace "African" with "Aryan" and you get Adolf Hitler, circa the late 1930s. That scares the crap out of me and I'm surprised it doesn't scare the crap out of everyone who studies history.

4/28/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

dallisal said:
"Why do you start out your essay with a "without question" branding of Wright as a racist?"........ et al

Gasp...sputter...eckk eckk eckk

Oh dear

Words do not suffice. Here I sit, slack-jawed with astonishment by the lengths to which some will go to avoid even a modicum of discernment.

Your comments give the sense that you're trying to avoid being 'judgemental', or some other PoMo drivel, wrapped-up in sounding 'reasonable'.

Back off on the level of koolaid, there dallisal - it floats the brain-pan & disables both reason & judgement.


"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." George Orwell

4/28/2008 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous dallisal said...

Thanks too Leslie G for providing additional data. The right rant of "guilty by association" between Obama and Wright seemed too ready-made for my tastes. So I went to his sermons and his own words. The soundbites didn't stand up in context, but neither do they paint him as some humanitarian. As I said, he is capable of inciting some serious race-based excitement. The Moyers interview gave me insight into his mind when he wasn't preaching, and it's from that interview that I finally tried to see him as a healer rather than yet another devisive black man. It isn't like it's a crowded field.

Admittedly I wasn't gunning for him. I respect Bill Moyers and gave his presentation my willing suspension of disbelief. I wanted to see what Moyers saw in putting him on his program. Wright alluded to the Louis Farrakhan era and said that neither of them felt the same way anymore, or words to that effect. Call me naive, but I believe in transformation.


As I write, I'm trying to verify your claims Leslie. Unfortunately all I can turn up googling is right-wing secondary sources all saying that this is what Wright said, etc. No actual quotes, dates, details, or context yet. If what you say is current information and not some excavation of decomposed opinions then I'm willing to call a spade a spade. But I'm not taking someone else's word for it when I have the man himself in front of me putting forth a doctrine I can believe in.

And here's why:
Public opinion is a funny thing, and a force so powerful that those of us who haven't known it can't imagine it. We can however see its effects on everyone from Brittney Spears to Howard Dean. If the public begins to see the Reverend in a clean light, in a role as an eloquent spokesperson for the anguish of the African race while at the same time calling upon them to pick themselves up, lo and behold who am I to get in the way? That's who he may indeed turn out to be. I'm not about to limit the ways of this world or of God. We can all be reinvented, right Bob? The spin he gave himself on Moyers, if that's what it is, is certainly a start. He has plenty of attention and credibility, and we all know the job is open.

I'll continue to do my research for source material rather than spin or hearsay. If anyone wants to point out actual source, I'm willing to explore.

I'm here to understand. I haven't stopped learning.



Anonymous: Connecting other people with their greatness can't possibly be viewed as a scary thing to anyone who is great already. It's when that connection comes at the expense of others, which is what the black saw is that we're all so tired of hearing, that the damage is done. I don't hear (yet) Wright saying that it's the white man's fault that the black man is down. I hear him saying that it's a fact that the black man is down, that it's a circumstance of their inheriting a culture and lifestyle not their own, and that it's time they step forward and make their own way rather than sitting back while a white (foreign) culture tries its best to fix things for them. Yes, I'm paraphrasing. I hope it's accurate. Again, here's the link.
Watch and decide for yourself.

Ximeze: I'm doing my best to be respectful here on Bob's site, and to Bob's wife. Spin it as you will. But will you share with me why you think you know me so well? Surely you aren't lapsing into the simple racist habit of generalizing based upon some private stereotype.

4/28/2008 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Dallisal-
I have neither the time nor the inclination to point out the obvious to you, but I will say this:
Wright is cut from the same cloth as Jackson and Sharpton, and the only difference is that Wright is far worse than those two racist hucksters.

Wright is a racist, anti-American, terrorist-lovin', anti-Christian malignant narcissist.

As Bob says:
"I am a different race than Jeremiah Wright, but the same one as Thomas Sowell."

Folks like Thomas Sowell are the deep-thinking men (and women) of greatness that people of all races should listen to.

People should avoid, even shun Jeremiah Wright like the plague of divisive darkness that he is.

4/28/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

dallisal,

You are taking Bill Moyers fawning softball interview with Wright as the definitive explanation of where he is coming from? He sounds like someones benevolent grandfather in that one. Try viewing the plethora of videos, some being peddled by his church, which speak otherwise. The actual videos gives more information than the transcripts. I would love it if it were as you speak but it's not. The man is nothing if not a race hustler.

As far as Ximeze.... "lapsing into the simple racist habit of generalizing based upon some private stereotype." Painting someone as a racist when they clearly are not doesn't fly here. But I guess you gave Ximeze the benefit of the doubt as it was just a "lapse" and uncosciously unintentional. Please.
Besides being a cheap shot, would that be different from what your own saviour has done during his campaign? You happen to live in a universe where doublespeak makes sense, thus your rationalizations.
If you think Wright, Jackson, Sharpton et.al are going to effect any social change besides their own monetary advancement, you are hopelessly deluded.

4/28/2008 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

dallisal:
"knowing you" is neither here nor there. In this venue, what you write is what we have to go by.

4/28/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Dallisal:
You said that you didn't understand why the charges of racism were issued by GB against Wright. I gave you 4 examples that will stand up to your research. That has nothing to do with Obama's guilt by association. Your comment was a non-sequitur.

But re. Obama's guilt by association, I defer to Shelby Steele who hypothesizes that Obama was trying to build up some street cred after his middle class fully mainstreamed upbringing in a white family and his need to identify with his African father who abandoned him.

I don't think Obama is racist or hates America the way Wright does, but he has to defend his decision to stay at the church for 20 years, and to raise his children in that church. On the other hand, I don't expect Obama to explain the hateful and incendiary things that Wright said as if he himself said them. Neither do I expect Obama to explain Ayers' terrorist actions and his lack of remorse for them. I do think it's fair that Obama explain why he calls Ayers a friend and served on a board with him and met with him in Chicago as a so-called "rite of passage" when he got into politics.

Re. your comment that the soundbites don't stand up in context ... Holy Smokes man! Context! If Farrakhan deserves to be Man of the Year as recently as last year, I'm not sure what else you need to know.

I can see you're trying to open your mind and think about this. Try to take in more than you write for a few days while you're sincerely looking at the facts. I have learned all I know about thinking clearly from Bob and Dennis Prager, no offense intended to either man. They did the best they could with what they had to work with.

Prager's show is a free podcast download on iTunes and Bob is right here with fresh Bobservations almost every day. So hang in there and keep trying to understand with your heart. The brain will follow.

Mrs. G

4/28/2008 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Spin down to brown" is the aphorism I use to describe our racial future.

The original color was brown, and so shall we all be again, as soon as enough interacial breeding takes place--which it will.

The final human product will look somewhat Arabico/Mexican. These regions contained the most thoroughly blended peoples as of now.

4/28/2008 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Not to quibble, but the "original color" was white. Just look at the skin under a monkey's fir -- which I happen to be doing right now with Scatter, my primate companion. Dark pigmented skin was a later adaptation to equatorial climates, as was tightly coiled hair, in order to block the sun's rays.

4/28/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Interestingly, in a recent article in Commentary about Jewish genius, Murray discussed the Ashkenaze's and decided the standard explanations weren't really credible. His last line, as I recall, concedes the possibility that the best explanation might be that they are the Chosen People.

I think the thing about Wright that's not getting touched on enough is the fact that, yes he's an unabashed bigot and pits white against black in the most pernicious manner, but the real problem with him is that he's a Marxist.

It would be okay if he argued that ebony and ivory yada, yada, blah, blah, blah . . . that's only sophomoric BS and not harmful. But his clear message is that blacks are suffering because of their treatment at the hands of whites. Steele is right, we are the first culture in history to truly transcend racism (and no, this doesn't mean that there are no more racists left -- although most of them are black and/or of the liberal pursuasion). But the proper attitude toward white America should be gratitude and "how do I join up with this magnificently successful culture and economy."

Instead we get an affirmative action presidential candidate, his grouchy wife, and his Marxist mentor telling us that we need to be something else. What else? Racist like the rest of the world? How about murderous racists like those in many African or Arab cultures?

Dalli, you seem like a nice enough person, but how someone can be anything other than outraged by this guy -- especially about the implicit devaluation of black America and his idea that the best thing for them is to be given something because of what some yahoo did 50 or 200 years ago -- is beyond me.

He's the culmination of an attitude that has been eating away at the success of the underclasses for half a century. Liberal elites who can't live without being saviors of the downtrodden poor black folks have actually succeeded in making much of black America paranoid and helpless. He's an absolute embarrassment, and he should be forbidden from referring to his church as though it bears any resemblance to traditional black American churches, which are as holy as the day is long.

4/28/2008 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Dupree, do Bob and Mrs. G know about your, er, companion?

Not owning a T&V, I have been sorting through written accounts of the Reverend's interviews, and speech today. I was looking for an account that seemed not too agenda-driven. The one I liked was by Eric Scheie, at PJM: his take matched my own pretty closely, and plenty of facts and contexts were supplied.

His lead-in points to where this story is going, I suspect:
"It was hard to watch this morning's appearance by Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club and not wonder what sort of person could listen to such poisonous rhetoric for 20 years."

4/28/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, and Dalli - see for yourself what Wright said today, which basically reiterated all the points Leslie already made.

4/28/2008 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, I'm still waiting for an apology from the Queen. After all, I'm sure that most of my ancestors on my father's side were feudal serfs, and that's one step above a slave. Once Her Majesty apologizes, we can start negotiating reparations. Not that that's why I want the apology. Rather, it's the principle of the thing.

4/28/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, yeah! And if that's how we roll, I don't just want an apology for slavery and the injustices suffered by my Mohawk furbears, I want an apology for how my Irish ancestors were treated - potato-starved feudal serfs who were treated like second-class citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. And until I get formal, kiss-my-ass apologies for all that history (in spite of the fact that my life is frickin' awesome), I'm going to go on strike. Yeah, that's the ticket. It's the fault of all those white Europeans that my life is so... uh... hm.

Right, here it is then: I'm very sorry if I've ever been ungrateful to any of the folks, regardless of heritage, who made my life in this greatest of all nations and times in the history of mankind possible. It's not perfect, but it is so very good, and I'm blessed beyond measure to be a part of it.

4/28/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Scatter said...

I want an apology from humans for evolving beyond my ancestors and oppressing my species.

4/28/2008 07:11:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Scatter:
Stop whining, will ya? We do toss you a banana every once in a while.

Geeze, at least you're not in captivity in China, where you'd currently be used for sport in gladiator-type matches or have your brains scooped out with spoons after somebody sawed around the top of your head while you're alive, held fast in a special table for just that purpose.

Ain't multiculturism great.

4/28/2008 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

A couple of oldies but goodies:

In an interview last year, Robert C-0.0-nquest remarked that for him "the old distinctions between left and right had become irrelevant to him, adding very mildly that fools and knaves of a ALL kinds needed to be opposed and that what was really needed was "a United Front against Bullshit."

About Black Liberation theologians a.k.a Leftists - Booker T. Washington wrote in 1901:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs...There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

4/28/2008 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"...not to mention a narcissistic pride that results in idiosyncratic deviations from truth, which are no more than an egoic and thoroughly disposable "song of myself." Conformity to truth requires a humility that is too often lacking in the intellectually grandiose."

Ya wonder if it is a case of the intellectual muscle man focusing on building those biceps while tottering around on bird legs. I wonder what the affect might have been on some of those geniuses, assuming that they did consciously neglect the rest of their mental musculature - might not developing the rest of their focused item to even greater abilities, rather than detracted from it? I know, that's an easy 'deep thoughts' moment... but still, I do wonder.

4/28/2008 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, I don't happen to believe that race is genetic -- or only genetic (everything is by definition genetic in some sense, so it's a tautology). Furthermore, one of the most critical points to bear in mind is that intelligence is on a Bell curve anyway, so that each group actually contains all of the human potential, just in a different mixture. "

I think it would have been bizarre if some groups, races, regions, didn't develop differently than others... but difference doesn't mean less. But not only are those differences not fixed and nailed into that race, as we see the stereo-typical traits blend into intermixed offspring, but being taller, shorter, stronger, faster, smarter, steadier, faster... are traits we can see within any one of the races, and pardon me for ranting, but its boneheaded stupid to bother dwelling on. We are not all alike, thank God, and we all benefit because of it - if we allow ourselves to.

4/28/2008 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

dallisal said..."The problem with our public handling of racial policy is that, as Bob says, it doesn't address the core issues. "

The problem with our public handling of racial policy is that the public tries to handle it. Beyond ensuring that the Law does not take race into account, there is no place for the public to do anything about the core issues. It's up to the biggest minority to deal with. You. And any pretense and puffery that public this or that is going to do a damned thing about that is a lie people try to nurse and pretend they aren't telling themselves.

Ok, climbing off high-horse now... (no, not letting it stray farther than arms reach... but off... for the moment)

4/28/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Wowww... wordveri freedom... ooohhhh.............

4/28/2008 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said "...you get Adolf Hitler, circa the late 1930s. That scares the crap out of me and I'm surprised it doesn't scare the crap out of everyone who studies history."

Oh it does... which scares the crap out of me, as it makes plain how few study history.

4/28/2008 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

dallisal said "But will you share with me why you think you know me so well? Surely you aren't lapsing into the simple racist habit of generalizing based upon some private stereotype."

psst we're all black n' white here - we only have your ideas to judge you upon, here you stand as you are, and as you are is visible to anyone who can read and understand. No place for 'racist habit', it's all you.

4/28/2008 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze said... "In this venue, what you write is what we have to go by."

Heh-ha! I love being beaten to the punch! No where anywhere like here in the O.C.!

4/28/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hey, I’m still waiting for the Irish to apologize to my family for my Great Grandfather being forced to hide in a steamer trunk to get out of Ireland because the IRA had price on his head. He was just a good English Veterinary helping out the poor Irish farmers when he did his duty and turned in some misguided thugs. So he was forced to flee to the greatest country on earth, and like Julie said - here I am with a great life.

Humm wait a minuet let me think ... well in the immortal words of Rosanna Rosanna Danna “Never mind”

4/28/2008 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Did anyone else hear the ROUSING ovation given to Rev. Wright during his intoduction at the National Press Club? Like a conquering hero returned from war. At first I thought it might be a clip from him at his church.
Highly doubtful we'll get anything objective from these "journalists".

4/28/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Johan said...

Van said:
"Heh-ha! I love being beaten to the punch! No where anywhere like here in the O.C.!"

I'm being beaten to it all the time, but I will always blame the time difference to Sweden.

Now, that’s victimhood.

Johan, CosmoSwede

4/29/2008 02:59:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

So, am I going to have to make up for my ancestors feeding Christian's to the lions now?

4/29/2008 03:30:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Hey, what happened to wv?

4/29/2008 03:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Maineman said "I think the thing about Wright that's not getting touched on enough is the fact that, yes he's an unabashed bigot and pits white against black in the most pernicious manner, but the real problem with him is that he's a Marxist."

I sooo agree. My reaction on hearing his 'chickens coming home to roost' was did everyone forget hearing Ward Churchole (hate attaching that fine name to him)? Chomsky? How dare these people be ignorant of the obvious implications of leftist/marxist thought which they endorse completely in the schools and their regular commentary. There is no difference in fundamentals between what Wright said and what academia and the MSM spew out on a daily basis, the only novelty (publicly) is that he expressed it religiously and with a racial emphasis associated with a Presidential candidate, but even there, it's been fairly commonly said by others.

Maybe it's a 'the emperor has no clothes' moment, sort of 'uh-oh... somesone actually said outloud what we all whisper, think and imply... quick... act shocked! (and maybe they'll overlook us)'

4/29/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Scatter said... "I want an apology from humans for evolving beyond my ancestors and oppressing my species."

Piker.

I want apologies for having nothing to apologize for. I'm a victim of non-victimhood.

Do you have any idea what it feels like to not feel like a victim in today's culture? I'm completely isolated... I feel so alone... it's just awful having nothing to feel guilty about.

You all owe me!!!

4/29/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Man, I'm all for the human race. If that makes me racist, so be it.

4/29/2008 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I quite like the assessment of the candidates and what they represent to be found at this reference.

www.williamirwinthompson.org/blog.html

4/29/2008 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

I quite think Thompson is senile.

4/29/2008 09:59:00 PM  

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